Home Theater on a budget

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  • 09-13-2007, 11:00 AM
    sj22
    Home Theater on a budget
    Greetings:
    I am planning to buy the following and install in a 25 feet wide by 40 feet long open room in the basement. 7.1 system. Am I choosing the right equipment ? If not, would you recommend something better in the similar price range. Thanks/Shaw

    http://www.hififorless.com/categorie...categoryid=576

    NX-PRO8330 8" 3-way in wall speakers
    150 watt. frequency response: 35Hz - 22KHz $200 for two

    NXG PRO 6" 3 WAY IN- WAL LOUDSPEAKER
    120 watt. 38Hz - 22KHz $340 for four

    center ch speaker
    NX-PRO5520CLR
    NXG PRO DUAL 5" 2-WAY CENTER CH SPEAKER
    120watt. 45Hz-22kHz; 89dB sensitivity $120 for one

    http://www.hififorless.com/categories.php?categoryid=65
    SUBwoofer BIC America model V-1220 $200
    12" Down-Firing Powered Subwoofer - 200 watts RMS, 430 watts peak
    23180 Hz variable crossover speaker level and RCA inputs
    Auto on/off signal sensing circuitry

    Receiver Onkyo TX-SR505 ($300) or TX-SR575 ($400)

    Total $1160


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  • 09-13-2007, 11:26 PM
    PeruvianSkies
    I've never even heard of that brand. That can't be good and the total price seems rather low for all of those items....sounds kinda fishy to me, or just plain bad.
  • 09-13-2007, 11:35 PM
    dingus
    if you want a true budget system that delivers true quality sound, the used market is the only way to go. you'll get the most value by going with vintage gear.
  • 09-13-2007, 11:37 PM
    pixelthis
    At least the tweeters pivot. This is key for inwalls, because you can't move them, so you have to be able to move the tweeter, which is highly directional.
    And inwalls should have an enclosure.
    B.I.C used to be a turntable manufacturer (and might still be) but I think you can do better than the Sub pictured.
    Shell out the cash and get a velodyne or something similar, they make inexpensive models.
    And if you can afford it check out some Niles or other brand of inwalls, for your level of interest these might be okay, but remember that once installed, they will be more difficult to replace.
    Installing inwalls is a lot more complicated than bookshelfs or floorstanders.
    From the pictures they look pretty good, but you cant listen to a picture, test them throughly before you put them in
  • 09-13-2007, 11:37 PM
    PeruvianSkies
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dingus
    if you want a true budget system that delivers true quality sound, the used market is the only way to go. you'll get the most value by going with vintage gear.

    Yep. Plus actually going around and hearing it as well.
  • 09-13-2007, 11:46 PM
    dingus
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    Yep. Plus actually going around and hearing it as well.

    true, there is no substitute for hearing for yourself.
  • 09-13-2007, 11:53 PM
    PeruvianSkies
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dingus
    true, there is no substitute for hearing for yourself.

    As simple as this concept sounds, it's amazing to me how many people still try to shortcut this approach and will buy on impulse, hype, or laziness.
  • 09-14-2007, 04:57 AM
    musicman1999
    First off that is a huge room,how much do you have to fill with sound? The gear you have listed will not be up to a room that big.What is your budget?

    bill
  • 09-14-2007, 05:27 AM
    GTucker
    NX does in wall, in ceiling speakers. Unless you have the knowledge and skills to convert those cavities into speaker enclosures, you will not get quality sound. You would be better off with one of the better HTIB, or several notches up a used system. Putting speakers in walls and ceilings poses some extremely challenging technical and phyics problems. Filling that large a room with sound on a limited budget can be very challenging. Are you going for moderately good sound thoughout a large portion of the 40 feet or do you plan on having a more defined listing area? What will the floor be? concrete (finished or raw?), wood (hard, soft, thickness?) carpeting or some other kind of flooring? Will the ceiling be finished, again how? acoustical panels or ???
  • 09-17-2007, 03:29 AM
    sj22
    Thank You All

    Pixelthis - I will checkout Velodyne

    Dingus / PeruvianSkies - The items listed are from online - so no way to hear before buying. I thought someone reading may know about this.

    PeruvianSkies - not buying on impulse or hype. laziness - maybe. I should probably find out some local stores. When I googled, I only saw tweeters about 20 minutes away. Is Tweeters a good place to buy from?

    musicman1999 (bill) - the room is about 17 feet wide by 36 feet long - in basement. budget is max $1500.

    GTucker - The floor will be ceramic tiles. The basement it self is about 1800 sq feet - I have three rooms including the utility room. The area i am putting in the home theater is about 17 feet wide and 36 feet long. There will be two couches between 21 and 26 feet on the long side. I will be facing the 25 feet wide wall and plan to put the Left, Rigt and Center on the front wall. There is a 40 feet soffit running on both sides. I will mount the first set of two speakers on the sofit at 21' and the second set of two speakers at 26'. The sub will be placed inside a closet - just the face exposed at about 21 feet. The general listening area will be this 17x36. Specific listening area will be where the couch is going to be. There is also one open space to the left on this 17x36 and two open spaces to the right of the 17x36. The left area is 18L x 14W and starts at the top left of the 17x36. The right area one starts at the right top of the 17x36 and the dims are 11L x 15W. the right area two starts at the right bottom of 17x36 and is 5Lx11W. Ceiling will be drywall finished. I am not planning to put any acoustic panels. I can upload a sketch of the basement if my description is not helping to visualize

    Everyone: I realize that I am not going to get the best with a limited budget. My goal is to get the best with the budget that I have. Dingus mentioned about getting used equip - is it a good idea? and where can I find them.

    Thanks!
    SJ22
  • 09-17-2007, 04:05 AM
    musicman1999
    You may want to go away from inwall speakers if you can as Pix and G said installing them is very difficult,also going that way limits your options regarding upgrades or returns if you don't care for them.The gear you listed will not be able to fill that space with any kind of volumn at all,any chance you can hold off until the budget gets bigger?You should go with in room speakers if at all possible.One way around the budget crunch is to not buy all the gear at once,like just buy two floor standers for the front and add the others as money allows you will end up with a much better system over time.

    bill
  • 09-17-2007, 08:53 AM
    GTucker
    SJ22
    There are a number of difficulties with what you have described. Appears to be a mismatch in power from receiver peak to speaker max. Size room likely to cause volume at high end in attempt to provide acceptable sound saturation. Likely to over power speakers hit clipping. Soffits not normally a decorative feature, usually hiding ducting, wiring plumbing etc. Can cause all kinds of placement problems. From what you have described you will also have reflected sound issues that are difficult to address.
    Musicman is right. Incremental is good approach, best affordable fronts can move to surrounds, can move to rears in time phased structured upgrade.
    Also used equipment can be excellent value, audioreview has a forum for this, audiokarma has a forum for this and on ebay they still have some used equipment. Another avenue is the time honored garage sales, particularly in an upscale neiborhood. Also keep an eye on the adds in local paper.
    I believe the onkyos you mentioned will allow you to run stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 so a phased approach would be supported by them.
  • 09-18-2007, 05:57 AM
    sj22
    Bill,
    The basement is new construction - so it is the best time to mount the in wall speakers - studs are exposed now - no drywall yet. When you mentioned about the difficulty of inwall speakers, were you talking about the physical mounting difficulty or positioning planning or both? I really like the inwall

    GTucker,
    I will start looking for a used equipment - how would I know which one is a fit for me? I have no clue on the good brands and specs

    Appreciate if you both could spend a few minutes and browse the used equips and see if there is anything appropriate for me

    Thanks
    Shaw
  • 09-18-2007, 09:50 AM
    musicman1999
    sj22

    Both to be sure.First you will not be able to experiment with speaker placement and second the enclosure has a great deal to do with the speakers overall sound.The quality of a regular speakers cabinet has a lot to do with its sound.Let me ask you a question,will you be hanging these yourself or will you hire a professional installer?
    Are there any high end audio shops in your area? Sometimes they will have some used gear on hand that you can see.I would still stay away from inwalls,start with fronts until you get some more cash and build from there,you won't be getting surround sound now but over time you will have a much more enjoyable system.

    bill
  • 09-18-2007, 11:33 AM
    sj22
    Bill,
    I don't know of any high end audio shops (other than Tweeters) in the area. I had asked a professional installer and the quote came out to be $8000 - new equipment. He don't have any old equip.

    Do you know any used equipment place in or around chicago land area?

    Regards
    Shah
  • 09-18-2007, 01:04 PM
    musicman1999
    Sorry man i am about 2000 miles away,but in a city the size of Chicago there must be many audio shops,try a search engine or even the yellow pages.Also have a look at Kijji.com
    and find Chicago listings.Also do you know anyone that has done something similar to what you want to do,if you do it would be good to speak to them before you go to far.

    bill
  • 09-19-2007, 10:25 AM
    GTucker
    In the new market, one can narrow speaker choice by budget, by size of room, by how the equipment is to be used (music listening and type of music, watching movies, with or without an emphasis on realistic sound effects). The size room you are talking about requires speakers that can move a fairly substantial volume of air (or more speakers more amps to move the same large volume of air. There is a disconnect between the size room and the budget. In that situation what is most likely to give is sound quality. If the primary purpose is setting up a space for the kids to watch movies on a rainy Saturday afternoon, that may not matter. I think many of the responses, including mine have assumed that you were looking for something more than that.
    For shopping in the used market, I would reccommend reading the forums on speakers to familiarize yourself with names. I went to school in Chicago. Between Chicago Heights, Naperville and Highland Park there are over 200 different stores selling audio/home theatre equipment. Many of them sell used equipment on consignment - call and ask. The college campuses are a fertile ground for used gear. College students are frequently in need of money and sell gear to get it. Most campuses have a bulletin board in a student union, etc. where such adds are posted. Also many schools will have a school paper and the classfieds can be good to look at. If you are unwilling or unable to do the legwork, then.....
    you may want to look at some of the speaker systems like KEF, Mirage Nanosat, Cerwin-Vega CVHD 5.1, Infinity TSS-800. Call stores and go listen. When you are talking the individual eccenticities and colorations of budget speakers, the shortcoming one individual is willing to live with is not the same as the shortcoming another individual is willing to live with so I don't even like to make brand reccommendations.
    But in the Chicago area, even on a modest budget, the used market can get you a much better set-up than anyhing you are likely to buy new.
  • 09-20-2007, 01:13 AM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sj22
    Thank You All

    Pixelthis - I will checkout Velodyne

    Dingus / PeruvianSkies - The items listed are from online - so no way to hear before buying. I thought someone reading may know about this.

    PeruvianSkies - not buying on impulse or hype. laziness - maybe. I should probably find out some local stores. When I googled, I only saw tweeters about 20 minutes away. Is Tweeters a good place to buy from?

    musicman1999 (bill) - the room is about 17 feet wide by 36 feet long - in basement. budget is max $1500.

    GTucker - The floor will be ceramic tiles. The basement it self is about 1800 sq feet - I have three rooms including the utility room. The area i am putting in the home theater is about 17 feet wide and 36 feet long. There will be two couches between 21 and 26 feet on the long side. I will be facing the 25 feet wide wall and plan to put the Left, Rigt and Center on the front wall. There is a 40 feet soffit running on both sides. I will mount the first set of two speakers on the sofit at 21' and the second set of two speakers at 26'. The sub will be placed inside a closet - just the face exposed at about 21 feet. The general listening area will be this 17x36. Specific listening area will be where the couch is going to be. There is also one open space to the left on this 17x36 and two open spaces to the right of the 17x36. The left area is 18L x 14W and starts at the top left of the 17x36. The right area one starts at the right top of the 17x36 and the dims are 11L x 15W. the right area two starts at the right bottom of 17x36 and is 5Lx11W. Ceiling will be drywall finished. I am not planning to put any acoustic panels. I can upload a sketch of the basement if my description is not helping to visualize

    Everyone: I realize that I am not going to get the best with a limited budget. My goal is to get the best with the budget that I have. Dingus mentioned about getting used equip - is it a good idea? and where can I find them.

    Thanks!
    SJ22

    you are not going to get the "best " with a million dollar budget, but with your cash you can do quite well, you just have to be discerning.
    Ever hear of the law of diminishing returns? A thousand dollar system will sound 90%
    better than a 100$ system, but to get that extra ten percent would cost thousands.
    In other words theres a hugh difference between a HTIB and a 1,000 system, much less between a 1,000$ system and a 100,000 one.
    That extra ten percent is what audiophiles keep chasing, but if you can live without it you can save some cash:1:
  • 09-20-2007, 05:09 AM
    sj22
    Thank you Bill, Gtucker, Pixelthis.

    I already a decent system in my first floor family room. It was done by a professional - Denon AVR 2106, Sonance The Sub powered sub woofer, Sonance symphony inwall speakers - 5 in family room and two in the kitchen.

    I am not an audiophile, but to my lay man's ears, a $900 sony HTIB in my friends house sounded better than what I have. He has speakers mounted externally on the wall which I don't like. I initially thought of putting those HTIB speakers inside the wall, but sony tech support said the sides and rear of those speakers should not be obstructed

    I am going to start looking for local audioshops and used equipment. I will keep you all posted on my progress

    Warm Regards
    Shaw
  • 09-20-2007, 05:10 AM
    sj22
    Gtucker,
    I am close to Highland Park, do you recall any names of the stores ?

    -Shaw
  • 09-21-2007, 12:06 AM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sj22
    Thank you Bill, Gtucker, Pixelthis.

    I already a decent system in my first floor family room. It was done by a professional - Denon AVR 2106, Sonance The Sub powered sub woofer, Sonance symphony inwall speakers - 5 in family room and two in the kitchen.

    I am not an audiophile, but to my lay man's ears, a $900 sony HTIB in my friends house sounded better than what I have. He has speakers mounted externally on the wall which I don't like. I initially thought of putting those HTIB speakers inside the wall, but sony tech support said the sides and rear of those speakers should not be obstructed

    I am going to start looking for local audioshops and used equipment. I will keep you all posted on my progress

    Warm Regards
    Shaw

    Go to the photo gallery and check out some of the systems, notice that most use freestanding speakers.
    This is because cabinet design is key to having a good sounding speaker, its difficult to make an inwall that sounds as good as even a HTIB speaker, especially a higher end like a 900 dollar one.
    I have a economy pair of B&W speakers, for instance, that have something called prism
    technology, which is simply prongs on the inside walls, breaks up standing waves.
    And speakers have to stand apart from the wall sometimes in order to radiate sound properly.
    So dollar for dollar an inwall system wont sound as good as a set of "boxes".
    Like I told another poster, check out definitive technology, they make minispeakers that are white and blend in nicely, and aren't that expensive.
    Boston acoustics also make small monitors, as do a lot of companies, you can have freestanding speakers that dont take up a lot of room:1:
  • 09-24-2007, 08:10 AM
    GTucker
    Sorry I didn't respond sooner - out of town. I believe there was an Elite Audio uptowards Highland Park, a Royal Sound in Lakeforest, and It's Muzak in Highwood (catered heavily to soldiers at Fort Sheridan). There was also Audio consultants in Evanston and ABT Electronics out towards Glenview. Also, there was a place called Chicago Audio that was primarily rental, but would every couple of years sell off there stock and replace with new and they had some bargains. It's been awhile, so those places may be either gone or had name changes.
    The Sony HTIB sounding better than the your set-up can have a number of explanations. The room, including positioning of rugs, furniture, draperies etc. can affect how a system sounds. The speakers can take advantage of this to a certain degree by placement, some of which is simply trial and error. Also a speaker system enclosure or box is optimized to the speaker(s) it contains. When you place speakers in walls you will most often not achieve optimal placement (or even close). And to a certain extent the wall, the rooms structure becomes part of the speakersystem, but they are not designed for each other.
  • 09-25-2007, 02:41 PM
    sj22
    Thanks GTucker,
    I will contact them and see if they have any used stuff
  • 09-25-2007, 04:14 PM
    sj,

    The best advice we can give is to start smaller and build up. We can't in good conscience recommend bad equipment to you and much of the HTIB stuff is not that impressive. However if you were willing to spend that $1500 on a partial setup made up of used equipment, that you could perhaps replace later with something higher-end, you would fare much better.

    You could for example purchase a used pair of 2-3 year old tower speakers and add the matching center channel. This is by no means hi-fi, but it gets you started and you can then build from there as your budget allows. Start with eBay , they have pages of listings for these. Narrow your search to brands like Polk, Infinity, Definitive Technology, Boston Acoustics, NHT, B&W, KEF, Wharfedale, which all make decent entry-level lines. Anyhow, starting with a good pair of tower speakers will make a world of difference in filling that large room with sound.

    For the sub, you don't need to have the same brand. Some companies like Outlaw Audio, HSU and SVS make very good and reasonably-priced entry-level subs. Make sure you check their B-stock sales on the websites. For the rears, you also don't need the same brand, although a smaller speaker from the same manufacturer will make slight improvement in the continuity of sounds, but this is not crucial at your budget.

    Speaking of Tweeter, I thought they were going out of business. From what I could tell, they are really re-inventing themselves into a service-oriented business and have dropped a lot of the brands that made them a decent place to shop. Like so many similar stores, such as Magnolia, they are severely reducing their selection of higher-end equipment. I don't really think they are what they were when they started in this industry. They will probably disappear, so purchasing from them may not provide the service and support you may need over the time that you will own their gear.
  • 09-25-2007, 07:59 PM
    sj22
    Thank you NightFlier
    When I buy through ebay, apart from looking at the feedback for the seller etc., what else could be wrong with the speaker that I should specifically ask about

    -Shaw